So I just spent about a half hour or so with the MGS3 demo that comes with this months Official PlayStation Magazine. It's long, very long and I haven't even finished it yet, but below are some impressions from yours truly after running around for a bit.
As a fan of the series, including Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, I was expecting to love it. And overall, I think I do, though I did encounter a few snags along the way.
Snake, are you there?
I haven't read any of the spoilers about the story, though I have inadvertently picked up a few choice tidbits here and there. I won't spoil anything revealed in the demo, I'll leave that for you to discover, but I will mention a few choice pieces.
The story seems to take place before the original MGS in what resembles a cold war era. You control a character who is strikingly similar to our buddy ole pal Solid Snake, but at this point I'm not so sure who he is. Fans of the series will be able to draw their own conclusions I'm sure.
There is just as much story in MGS3 it seems as other games in the series, with lengthy codec transmissions (this is older technology remember, so no codecs here, "Snake" has an ear bud radio that serves the same purpose) to move the story along. Further, in similar fashion to previous MGS trial demos, all the voice acting is presented in Japanese dubbed with English subtitles.
Kids like the gameplay
The big departure for MGS3 versus the first two games in the series is the move away from an urban environment to an outdoor setting. The demo begins in a jungle, with lots of trees to climb and tall grass to creep through.
The trial demo offers a bevy of different weapons, items, and various types of camouflage. What, camouflage? Camo is a huge part of the new game, in the upper right hand corner is a little meter that shows how easily it is for enemies to spot you. Changing the camo style increases your conceivability rating, in addition to such things like not moving or crawling. Very cool stuff, though, I find it odd that Snake can change clothes instantly at the touch of a button. I think it would be cool if it made you change clothes for a few seconds away from the prying eyes of the enemy.
Another cool factor is killing animals for food. There is a stamina bar under your health meter that decreases as time goes on, affecting such things as your aim accuracy, strength, and stealth ability. So keep your eyes out for local fauna that you can slay to get your eat on. I could really see this getting tiresome further in though.
Seems good, but no Raiden?
The demo gives a good feel of what the new MGS is all about. Though the move to outdoor environments can make the pace slow to a crawl as you find yourself sitting crouched in a bunch of grass for enemies to make their way past. It was common in the other games, but with the lack of tight confined hallways and such to sprint around in, it's more noticeable here.
Based on what I played of the demo so far, I predict fans of the series will be relatively happy with the new installment and I have a feeling the plots twists will get wild and crazy.
However, I'm not sure if this will win any new fans over if they didn't like the previous MGS titles, but time will only tell I suppose. I will note that people whose only quibble in MGS2: Sons of Liberty was the inclusion of Raiden will be happy, unless Kojima pulls a fast one on us yet again...
Trailers you definitely want to check out...
Tokyo Game Show 2004 *streaming* (New!)
Games Convention 2004
Official Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater website (English)
Join our discussion boards and share your thoughts on the game!
Special thanks to David "Kidnemo" Tekiela for sharing his impressions with us. You can find more of David's personal creative works at www.comet7.com, an amusing web comic covering a variety of topics, (but mostly just pink octopi.)